Mr Rogers Song “You Are Special” Harmful To Children?

A few years ago, Fox News hosts went on almost a four-minute rant about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood host Fred Rogers in which he was called an evil man and that he hurt children and America. According to the hosts, Mr. Rogers hurt the US by teaching children that they are special even though they may not be special. They continue on that this is why Americans feel entitled and want something for nothing.

Here’s the video although I wish it was in a higher quality but it’s the best I could find.

So if telling children they are special is damaging, why have we done it throughout history. First up, the song from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that sparked the above rant and thus lead me to write this post. Following that will be quotes from other people from current time and as early as 1890s.

You are my friend.
You’re special to me.
There’s only one in this wonderful world.
You are special.

Lyrics from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood song

“You can dream it, you can be it,
If you can feel it, you can believe it
Cause I am, you are, we are
Exceptional, exceptional”

Lyrics from the A.N.T. Farm Theme Song (2011)

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You-er than You.”

Dr. Seuss (1959)

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!

Anne Frank (1940s)

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde (1897)

I’m sure I could spend hours digging up quotes from even farther back to show that we have always believed that we need to be ourselves because we each experience the world based on our own thoughts and no one else can see or feel what we see and feel. So I don’t think we can put the blame on Mr Rogers telling children they are special.

And just for fun, we found this clip of Fred Rogers on Arsenio Hall Show while we were researching this post.

By Angelia Embler

Angi grew up in southern Arizona but now lives in central New Mexico with her husband, two sons and four dogs. She creates, answers @Yoast support, and loves to ramble. Find her curled up with a book or watching her favorite TV shows, movies, or American football game. ?

7 replies on “Mr Rogers Song “You Are Special” Harmful To Children?”

We did not have Mr. Rogers in Canada when we were growing up we had another show with a gentleman and puppets…his name is not coming to me right now. But I know my husband grew up watching Mr. Rogers and has fond memories of watching it. I also think we do need to teach our children how special they are….so many struggle with self-esteem.

I find that people are blaming Mr. Roger’s for what children have become is sickening. Clearly, these people have never actually sat and watched Mr. Rogers; who strived to make every child in this world feel special and loved. Even when Mr. Roger’s accepted his lifetime achievement award at the Emmy’s, instead of thanking everyone, he simply asked the audience to think about those who loved and encouraged them throughout their lives, and helped them become the adults that they were. And for the record, Mr. Rogers is a minister himself, and felt his calling was to help all children realize their own unique potentials, and that you could be anything you wanted to be as long as you stayed true to yourself. He was an honorable man who helped many young children learn to be happy within their own skin. Shame on these people.

I so very much agree with April! Entitlement is occuring because we stopped balancing our teachings. Kids need to know to strive for their best, but to also show compassion for others, and boost others along the way. Being special has nothing to do with gettin everything free of charge just because we happen to be alive and human.
Great post! I love Mr Rogers!

It is a pretty sad in the news, when all your station can report is that a man that inspired countless of children to believe in themselves has to have a four minute bashing on him. Way to go Fox news!

Wow!! There is so much I have to respond to this controversial topic, but I will do my best to restrain myself. First, our entitled kids aren’t Mr. Rogers fault in the least. Before the latter part of the 19th century many children were given their self image through religious instruction. This is not a religious topic or one for that, but all the major religious figures-Christ, Buddha, etc all tell people in their written word that we are individuals and special to our creator. If you don’t believe, that is fine, but these are some of the oldest writings and they are inundated with messages about how special children are and how they should be treasured and these writings, like it or not, set the tone for most societal beliefs. Our entitled generation is a product of the times we live in because we don’t balance the message children are special with ones like children need boundaries, lots of attention and love. I will end my rant here. To blame an individual’s message of encouragement is just wrong. Children should be encouraged, as should we all.

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